The Republican controlled legislature in Missouri passed a bill earlier this year that would allow employers and insurance companies to cite religious beliefs in order to deny women contraception and abortions. The bill would have severely crippled a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions. But on Thursday, Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the legislation, setting up a showdown with the state legislature that could result in an override in September when the next session begins.
Missouri Republicans passed SB 749 in May in protest of federal law requiring insurance companies to offer contraception in all health plans. Nixon vetoed the bill because he believed it gave too much power to employers and insurance companies over the health decisions of women.
“We want families making these decisions — not insurance companies,” Nixon said according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Dispatch also reports that,
“Nixon received thousands of emails urging him to either sign or veto the bill. The bill’s opponents, which included Planned Parenthood and the Missouri AFL-CIO, said it would limit access to health care and put women’s health care in the hands of their employers.
“Legislators, employers and insurers should not be making decisions for the women and families of Missouri,” said Mary Kogut, vice president of patient services at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
The insurance industry largely stayed on the sidelines of the debate.”
Make no mistake, this is a huge victories for women’s rights and health care. But the veto may not be permanent if Republican lawmakers have their way. The legislation passed the legislature by a landslide because the GOP is the dominant party and Republicans have vowed to override this veto in September and strip away women’s rights to make decision about their own bodies. It underscores the fact that as long as we allow Republicans to have massive majorities in state legislatures across the country and at the federal level, the war on women will never end.